NaNoWriMo 2019 – Everything You Need to Know

by Josh Fechter

on January 29th, 2019

It is never too early to prepare for the most challenging and exciting writing expedition of the year, NaNoWriMo 2019. NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month” and it is exactly what it sounds like. The goal is to write a novel in one month. Nanowrimo will take place in November, just like every other year.

To some this may sound crazy; impossible even! The fact is though, since its inception in 1999, hundreds of thousands of people have been doing it each year. Copious amounts of writers from all over the world sit down and set out to write 50k words in the span of one month. Many are successful, but success doesn’t always come easy – you have to know how to set yourself up! Being prepared will give you a much better chance at “winning” Nanowrimo 2019.

NaNoWriMo 2019 Goals – 50k and Beyond

Not every novel is going to be the same length, and Nanowrimo knows that. They have chosen a number that is an average. For some, 50k words may only be half of a novel. For others, 50k is a good length to tell their story.

A 50k word count goal is enough to be challenging while also being realistic for most people.

Get Connected During NaNoWriMo 2019

One great thing about Nanowrimo is the knowledge that you are not alone. So many people participate in this challenge, and they are not quiet about it. Communities have been created on every avenue of social media. There are Instagram and Twitter hashtags, and lots of Facebook groups. The main hub of communication is the Nanowrimo forums.

There is a topic for pretty much everything:

  • Nano prep.
  • Plotting.
  • Brainstorming.
  • Writing tips.
  • Worldbuilding help.
  • Character building help.
  • Playlist discussions.
  • Critique.
  • A discussion for every genre imaginable.
  • Age-specific forums.
  • Non-writing chat threads.

The forum is a great place to go, whatever your Nano need may be. People there are active, friendly, and ready to help. You will discover there is a great sense of belonging throughout these message boards, as everyone traverses the adventure that is Nanowrimo together.

Gather Your NaNoWriMo 2019 Supplies

Nanowrimo is fun, but it is also hectic. Being organized is very important, therefore it is a good idea to gather your Nanowrimo 2019 supplies before the month even begins. The first step is choosing how you will write. Will you type your story on your laptop? Or will you stick to the old fashioned methods and write it out by hand?

Some find writing by hand allows them better focus and concentration. Some also find it very calming and therapeutic. The only challenge with handwritten novels during Nanowrimo is having to count the words so you can keep track! It is not impossible though and many do it successfully each year.

Even if you are not handwriting the whole novel, having some pens/pencils and notebooks on hand is a good idea. You never know when you will want to jot down some notes or keep some research in front of you as you type.

One thing that many struggle with is finding time to complete Nanowrimo. Many are still in school or have a full-time job. Sometimes both! If this is the case, you may end up sacrificing some sleep and therefore coffee is going to be essential. Or perhaps some caffeinated tea if you prefer.

So pick your poison, stock up, and have your favorite mug cleaned and ready to go for November first!

Some Noveling Tunes, Anyone?

Lastly, you don’t want to be slaving away in the wee hours of the night without some music! Most people benefit from writing with some tunes. It can help you concentrate and provide inspiration.

Figure out what kind of music helps you the most. Maybe you like some adrenaline pumping punk rock to get your creativity flowing. Or perhaps it’s the calming lilt of instrumental jazz that keeps you on task. Whatever your taste, put together a foolproof writing playlist and have it ready.

Choose Your NaNoWriMo 2019 Project

Once you have everything prepared and your workspace is set up, it’s time to figure out what you’re going to write about! Nanowrimo was created for novel writing, but that is not set in stone. If you are a brilliant poet who wants to flex their prose muscles for the month, write a poetry collection!

If you prefer short fiction over novel length storytelling, go ahead and create an anthology. There are no real “rules” when it comes to Nanowrimo. As long as you are writing, you are winning.

Will You be a Plantser?

Planster is a funny word Nanowrimo came up with to describe one of three different types of writers. First, is the planner. This is someone who outlines meticulously. They write down detailed character descriptions, and they have their entire plot laid out. They brainstorm like crazy in the month leading up to Nanowrimo, and they go in feeling completely prepared.

Next, there is the panster. This is someone who flies entirely by the seat of their pants. They have an idea, and nothing else. November first hits and they start writing without a plan. They follow their wild imagination wherever it decides to take them on any given day.

Finally, we have the planster. This person falls in the middle of a planner and a panster. A planster might do a little bit of rough planning. They know their characters and have a general idea of where the story is going, but they still let their characters run wild come November first.

There is no right or wrong way to do this, but you should have a pretty good idea of what type of writer you are before the month begins! Knowing how you are going to write your novel will allow you to plan and prepare to the very best of your ability.

Find Some Tools

While your imagination and determination are the most important things to carry with you, there is no shame in using some tools to make the process easier! There are lots of different apps and software out there that are designed to help writers.

A great place to start is Squibler. Squibler will be a great addition to your Nanowrimo 2019 efforts as its purpose lines up with Nanowrimo’s vision. Squibler wants to help you finish your book in 30 days.

The process is simple and effective. It allows you to store your notes and ideas in a safe and organized place. You are able to filter your files by tags for easy locating when you need them.

Squibler also has a great outlining tool. Chapters and scenes can be written in whatever order you wish, but easily dragged and dropped into a different place later if something needs to change!

Once your book is edited and completed, it allows you to export easily as a PDF or Kindle e-book. It also helps you format for print publishing if that is what you choose, all while maintaining perfect image resolution.

Lock Up Your Inner Editor

There is really only one hard rule that Nanowrimo wants to enforce: no editing allowed! When you set foot onto the path of Nanowrimo insanity, your inner editor is not invited. 50k is a lot of words to write, and you only have 30 days.

The words you write aren’t supposed to be polished and perfect. They aren’t supposed to be publisher-ready. What they are supposed to be is there. At the end of the month, you have 50k words to work with. You can edit and rewrite to your heart’s content in December!

Don’t worry if the sentence you just wrote sounds bad. Ignore the call of the backspace key and keep pushing forward.

If You Get Stuck, Try the Adoption Society

The Nanowrimo forums are packed with useful information and helpful resources. One of its best features is the adoption society. This forum is broken down into categories that reflect parts of your story – plot, characters, settings, etc. There are even some very specific categories like negative personality traits or sarcastic comments. People come to these threads and drop ideas they have that they don’t want or can’t use.

You can come to the adoption society and find your entire novel idea. You can also come and pick up a single piece of witty dialogue that will add some comic relief to your horror tale, or perhaps play up the snooty personality of your antagonist.

Big or small, if you are after inspiration, the adoption society has it all.

Participate in NaNoWriMo 2019 Write-Ins

The online Nanowrimo community is vast and it is strong, but it is not the whole thing! The Nanowrimo website is broken down into regions. Based on your location, you can join a region and connect with writers in your local area. Each region has a private forum for its members only.

Most regions will run several events throughout the month of November. These will often take place at libraries, coffee shops, or community centers. Each region will have a municipal liaison or “ML” who organizes these events. They receive guidance and sometimes funding from Nanowrimo to make things happen.

Some regions may throw parties or social gatherings at the beginning and end of the month, but the main things they will host are called “write-ins.” A write-in is a place for local writers to gather and simply write together.

Always bring your notebooks and/or laptop and be prepared for some hardcore marathon writing. This is a great chance to bounce ideas off of other writers and brainstorm together. Writers can encourage and support each other here, and help each other stay on task.

It is easy to get distracted by things at home when nobody’s watching. Being around other writers will keep you accountable and you’ll be amazed at how much writing you can get done in just a couple hours!

One of the best parts of most write-ins are the word sprints! Most ML’s will run word sprints throughout the write-in. This is where they will set a timer for a predetermined amount of time. During that time, you sprint! This means you write as fast as humanly possible in an attempt to beat everyone else. Whoever wrote the most words in the allotted amount of time is the winner. There are often small prizes available to be won.

Not only are write-ins immensely helpful in achieving your goal of 50k, but some amazing friendships can be forged as you bond with other people who are crazy enough to attempt to write a novel in one month.

Use NaNoWriMo 2019 Badges for Motivation

The Nanowrimo website has a series of badges you can earn that are displayed on your profile. Some of them you can give to yourself to identify things about you and your writing style to others. Some are only earned as you hit certain milestones in the process.

You earn badges for:

  • Creating your novel
  • Updating your word count
  • 1667 words
  • 5k words
  • 10k words
  • 25k words
  • 40k words
  • 50k words (winner’s badge!)

These badges appear on your public profile and they are a great way to keep yourself motivated. This only works if you are willing to be honest, though. Nanowrimo operates largely on honesty. Updating your word count is manual, so cheating is easy. Remaining honest and entering your real word count each day will make earning the badges more meaningful!

Be a NaNoWriMo 2019 Rebel

Even though Nanowrimo doesn’t really have any rules and runs on the honor system, there are still some basic guidelines that are in place. 50k words is the ultimate goal. Words written before November first are not supposed to count.

However, these things never stop the Nano rebels. Some people are simply unable to write that quickly, or their current schedules do not allow them enough time. On the flipside, some people enjoy an even more difficult challenge than only writing 50k.

It’s people like these that will set their own word count. Some aim for 30k instead of 50k, while others may set their goal higher at 80k. Doing this is totally fine! Nanowrimo isn’t about rules, it’s about writing. As long as you write something during the month of November, it will be considered a win.

Nanowrimo is supposed to mark the beginning of a new novel, however, some people have a half-finished project that they really love and want to complete as their Nano challenge. This may mean that they begin the month with some words already written. This is okay too. If Nanowrimo helps you finish the first draft of your novel, then no one will mind that you cheated a little bit.

Are You Ready for a Writing Adventure?

Whatever your writing goals may be, Nanowrimo is a great stepping stone to achieving them. You may drink way too much coffee and lose sleep. You may pull some hair out as your characters decide to go rogue. You may have to battle some intense writer’s block.

You may also write an entire novel. You may finish a first draft. You may discover a new favorite genre. You may find a new writing buddy. Nanowrimo 2019 may be the beginning of a wonderful and crazy tradition that you look forward to every single year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.